What to Avoid When Hiring Remote Teams
Remote teams are everywhere.
I’d call them the future, but really, they define the present. In the United States alone, 43% of the workforce has already spent part of their career working remotely. If trends are anything to go by, this number is only going to continue to grow.
As a manager, hiring (and retaining) remote workers can be a challenging task. You’re looking for someone who is skilled, flexible, and a good communicator, while also being able to divide their time and prioritize tasks. With such a broad set of criteria and a seemingly bottomless well of candidates to choose from, narrowing down to the perfect candidate can feel a lot like finding a needle in a haystack.
If you’ve found yourself unsure of how to proceed with filtering through your stack of applications, simply follow this 4-point guide, outlining what to avoid when hiring remote teams.
1. “Versatile Communicator, Wherefore Art Thou?”
Sound communication is the spine of any team. Therefore, it is important to hire people who are skilled (and versatile) communicators.
For instance, you don’t want to hire an engineer who only uses e-mail as a means to communicate. Though text is the most common method of communication among remote teams, you’d ideally want a freelancer who is flexible and adept at different mediums—video, in particular.
This probably goes without saying, but it’s also extremely important to hire workers who are comfortable with the language that you operate in. Very frequently, companies prioritize other qualities over communication and this just harms them in the long run.
Other important qualities to search for are the abilities to both follow clear tasks and prioritize cleverly. Additionally, you want to be sure that the remote workers you hire are a good fit for your company’s culture.
As a manager, your focus should be on the big picture and in the long run, communication has a substantial and directly proportional impact on productivity. By ensuring that you choose candidates who are able to communicate effectively, you will avoid a lot of potential problems in the workplace.
2. Hard v. Soft Skills
Say you’re hiring a remote engineer and have two candidates to choose from:
- Tommy, who’s very talented but has low self-direction and interpersonal skills;
- Timmy, who isn’t quite as talented as Tommy but is more organized, alert and passionate.
Who would you pick?
If you’re working within a remote setup, it’s probably a better choice to hire Timmy.
Things like self-direction and motivation can be worked on if you’re working in the same physical space, but it can get harder remotely. Due to this, it’s important to ask behavioral questions, along with skill-based questions, in order to understand what kind of person the candidate is, in addition to their knowledge of the field.
Arguably, in the remote space, a more adept and sharper communicator is better to have than a very talented employee with limited communication skills.
3. Time Zones
AMs and PMs flipped over their heads—what is time in the modern age?
True, in today’s modern world, it’s easier to communicate across hemispheres, but still, it’s certainly better to work with someone operating out of a similar time zone.
When hiring candidates for remote work, ensure that they are comfortable with your company’s hours of operations. At the same time, you must also be cognizant of their time schedule and be flexible accordingly.
4. Avoid Crowded Talent Pools
You don’t want to be where everyone else is. If you can help it, search for workers in less crowded markets. For example, if you’re looking to hire remote engineers, look in Eastern Europe rather than India.
The reasoning behind this is that in bigger and more popular markets, you’ll end up competing against business giants like Google and IBM for human resources. Any situation that involves you battling it out against a company like Google will be an uphill task that should be avoided at all costs.
Hiring remote workers can be tricky, but if you follow the right steps, it can be an optimal solution for your company. By knowing what to avoid when it comes to hiring remote talent, you will be able to easily narrow down candidates, making the process far less tedious, and therefore, less daunting.